In a major breakthrough the Orissa police on Thursday claimed that the mastermind behind Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Laxamananda Saraswati's killing had been identified as a group had hired the Maoists to execute the crime.
"Maoists were given money to train certain youth of a particular community to eliminate Saraswati," inspector general of police, crime branch, Arun Ray told PTI asserting the mastermind of the killings had been identified.
Stating the mastermind had fled Orissa, the IG said "we will trace them soon." The plan to eliminate Saraswati was made immediately after the December, 2007 communal violence in Kandhamal, he added.
Elaborating the probe by the crime branch, Ray said investigations also showed that a group had collected money from some villages in Kandhamal which was given to the Maoist group to train their youth for the purpose. At least 60 youth were given arms training by the Maoists, the IG said dwelling on the inputs from the three arrested persons.
Ray said members of a particular community were unhappy with Saraswati and held him responsible for the riots which took place during Christmas in 2007. They requested a Maoist group to assist them in killing Saraswati, he said.
Confirming that six Telugu-speaking persons fired at Saraswati and others, the crime branch investigation revealed that the trained group were guarding the ashram at Jalespeta in Kandhamal during the incident.
Refusing to divulge identity and religion of the mastermind behind the killing which sparked communal violence in Kandhamal, The IG said the Maoists only executed the crime.
While the motive behind Saraswati's killing was clear, the sleuths gathered evidences against people who planned the crime not realising that it would trigger such a largescale violence, he said.